It's important to know when to replace the ignition coil so you can keep your engine running smoothly.
The most common symptom of a faulty ignition coil is an engine stall, where one or more cylinders in the engine cannot fire properly due to lack of air, fuel, or in this case, lack of spark. Misfires usually manifest as rough idling or lack of power.
In some cases, a faulty ignition coil can even prevent the vehicle from starting. However, your vehicle may not start for many other reasons, including a dead battery or a faulty starter. A diagnostic test performed by a technician can determine if your ignition coil is the cause of your engine's poor performance.
The check engine light may come on if the ignition coil needs to be replaced. But this light can come on for many other reasons, and a mechanic can examine your vehicle to determine what the problem is.
If your vehicle is consuming more fuel than usual, this may also indicate that it's time to replace the ignition coil. This is because if the spark plugs don't get enough power due to a faulty ignition coil, your vehicle will compensate for the drop in power by increasing fuel consumption.
Tempering can also be a symptom of a problem with the ignition coil. Backfire is characterized by a loud crash. You may also see black smoke coming out of the exhaust. This is not normal and may indicate that your ignition coil is faulty.
Look out for these signs of a malfunctioning ignition coil. Knowing these signs will make it easier to determine when to replace the coil pack or ignition coil.
What if I don't replace the ignition coil?
Knowing when to replace the ignition coil is the first step. The second step is contacting a mechanic to replace it.
A vehicle with one or more faulty ignition coils will lack power and run poorly, or sometimes not at all.
Additionally, running a misfiring engine for extended periods can damage the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor as unspent fuel enters the exhaust system.
The bottom line, you should not drive your vehicle if you think your ignition coil needs to be replaced. If you continue to drive a vehicle with a faulty ignition coil, you could seriously damage the engine.
Should I replace the ignition coil with a spark plug?
The ignition coil and spark plug fit tightly. If one fails, the other will not function properly. So, should you use spark plugs instead of coil packs? it depends.
The most common part to replace with the ignition coil is the spark plug. Worn spark plugs place an unnecessary load on the coil, and there is often some overlap in the labor required to replace the two components. If your ignition coil fails due to worn spark plugs, it is wise to replace both components.
However, if you're just replacing spark plugs as part of your routine maintenance service, you don't need to replace the ignition coils at the same time unless there are signs that they're failing.
In systems with ignition/spark plug wires, replacement is recommended if the wires appear old, frayed, or damaged. If the ignition coil is damaged by moisture (such as an oil leak), the source of the moisture should also be addressed to prevent the problem from returning prematurely.
If you experience ignition coil problems, contact a mechanic immediately. The first question you should ask your mechanic is "Should I replace the ignition coil with a spark plug?" Have your mechanic inspect your vehicle to determine if both the ignition coil and spark plug need to be replaced.
How does a mechanic determine when to replace an ignition coil?
A mechanic needs to inspect the ignition coil's primary and secondary ignition circuits to determine if the coil needs to be replaced. A mechanic can check both ignition circuits using a digital multimeter device.
Digital multimeter device to measure resistance. Your mechanic may need to check your owner's manual to find the normal resistance range for the ignition coil. If the primary or secondary resistance is outside this normal range, the coil needs to be replaced.
Diagnosing and replacing a faulty ignition coil requires special tools and equipment. Even a small mistake can seriously damage the spark plugs or other parts of the engine. For this reason, it's better to hire a mechanic to handle this task than try to do it yourself.
How much does it cost to replace an ignition coil?
A simple coil-type plug can cost a few hundred dollars, while a box-type system can run up to $1,000. The cost depends on the style of the coil and how difficult it is to access.
Is there any way to reduce maintenance costs?
Excessive ignition coil wear and damage can be prevented by replacing spark plugs at manufacturer-specified intervals and addressing oil leaks in the event of minor oil leaks.
Unfortunately, even with a well-maintained vehicle, ignition coil failure can eventually become unavoidable due to age. In this case, aftermarket ignition coils are usually available and a less expensive option, but in some cases, they may not be as reliable as the original equipment on the vehicle.